11 Replies Latest reply on Mar 22, 2017 10:06 PM by Chris McClellan

    Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?

    Bill P

      Hello

       

      1.  My son (11 years old) is a student in Junior High School.   He loves computers.  Is it a "requirement" or expectation that he "master" Excel before "moving up" to Tableau ?   This applies for him, and for his dad (me).  The local community college offers "Excel for Novices", "Excel Intermediate" and "Excel Advanced".    

       

      2.  Is Power BI a better program for a young data analyzer, or just go with Tableau ?    Obviously this audience here is biased....

       

      Thank you !

       

       

        • 1. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
          Norbert Maijoor

          Hi Bill,

           

          Upfront! The world will remain "biased" stating a question like this;)

          Myself, i am from a generation leaving school with 4 "languages". Dutch, English, German & French. My son, 17 years old speaks "Cocky English English", "American slang English" and proper "school English" not based on attending any hour English lesson at school but spending "light ages" as a youngster playing games an following YouTube channels on the internet. btw...In Netherlands you will get no change to learn "dutch" because the majority speaks English;). It's not about the "What" it's about the "Why". It's about making "mileages" at things you love. Technology will remain changing even faster and it's not about "Tech"-only. It's about making the right combination between, proces, people & tech making you a "GURU" on a certain topic. And working with a lot different tools "shapes" your vision on a certain topic.

          And yes I love Tableau... It's about the how they deal with the proces, people and technology concerning "analytics"....Now wait for the next "biased" post;)

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
            Madhusudhan Khambham

            Norbert Maijoor & Bill P

             

            I would Say MS excel/ SQL knowledge is must for working in Tableau and also even for learning with quick pace and understand the results.

            Often  there are times where we will try to validate the data that we are showing/visualizing it in Tableau is correct, I will always go back to excel/SQL and make sure the calculations/formulas which i used in Tableau are working great.

             

            So for any reporting/analytics tool, it will be great to have excel/SQL knowledge.

             

            Please find the link to a video which can give more details on Excel Vs Tableau.

             

            Microsoft Excel vs. Tableau: Gaining BI Insights from Raw Data

             

            Thanks

            Madhu K

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
              Bora Beran

              Excel is not a prerequisite to learn how to use Tableau, let alone mastering Excel.

               

              Here are a few examples of little kids analyzing data with Tableau.

               

              How one boy uses data to build his Grossery Gang collection | Tableau Software

               

              Check Out These Data Whiz Kids! | Tableau Software

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                Madhusudhan Khambham

                Bora Beran

                 

                To just use Tableau tool, its not required. But, its needed to effectively use it and validate what you see it in Tableau. Do you agree with me?

                 

                Thanks

                Madhu K

                • 5. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                  Bora Beran

                  Most of learning Excel is about familiarizing yourself with the functions, charting etc. none of which is directly applicable in Tableau. Also Excel is cell based which is very different from Tableau and databases which speak in columns instead of cells. Excel uses lookups where databases use Joins...There is a long list of differences.

                   

                  As for SQL, tools like Tableau exists so one doesn't need to learn SQL. So that a doctor, a teacher, a student can easily analyze their data. Some concepts are useful to learn especially when working with multiple tables like how different types of joins work but that is far from learning how to write SQL. There is tons you can do in Tableau without writing a single line of custom or initial SQL or without checking the generated SQL.

                   

                  For an 11 year old wanting to analyze data, learning Excel and SQL would add more confusion than being useful.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                    Madhusudhan Khambham

                    No Comments Bora Beran .   Agreed with your explanation on the differences.

                     

                    When it comes to the real usage of the tool how many customers using it in that way? (Without writing a single SQL)  or Without having a knowledge of SQL. Out of the 5 customers i worked with this tool no one

                    is exception all are using Custom SQL, Excel,  query language to validate the reports with the source.

                     

                    What i am saying is, for a 11 years old  he can have fun with Tableau ..drawing/developing  some beautiful graphs or charts. No doubt about it.

                    But, that doesn't help him much i can say. He should have a knowledge  on what is happening in the backend and understand the whole concept. Which will help him to do things in a better way.

                     

                    it's good to have the knowledge of SQL/Excel  definitely not at 11 years,  he should have this knowledge when he starts working for some companies.

                     

                    Not arguing with you .i am just expressing my opinion ..

                     

                    Thanks

                    Madhu K

                    • 7. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                      Jamieson Christian

                      I would say basic spreadsheet knowledge is useful, purely as a supplement to what you'll be doing in Tableau — but in-depth Excel knowledge can, ironically, work against you when trying to learn Tableau.

                       

                      I've been using Excel for decades. I'm extremely well versed in it. I'm considered a pivot table genius at my place of work. When I started using Tableau, I saw Rows and Columns and Filters and Marks and thought, "Oh, this is like the 4 elements of Excel pivot tables, I know how to leverage these." ONLY THEY'RE NOT. They are conceptually very different and they behave very differently than pivot tables. As a result, I encountered a vast amount of confusion as I tried to wrap my head around what Tableau was doing and how it interpreted my input. Consequently, we didn't start seriously leveraging Tableau for another year and a half.

                       

                      Fast forward to today — I finally got my head wrapped around Tableau, and while I'm far from Jedi material, I have a solid grasp of LOD expressions, table calculations, and other concepts that are considered "advanced". I find that my brain now thinks about solutions in terms of Tableau-oriented constructions and mechanisms, and I use Tableau a whole lot more than I use Excel pivot tables and charts now. And when I do periodically leverage an Excel pivot table, I find that I keep accidentally trying to apply Tableau concepts that just aren't supported in pivot tables.

                       

                      Moral: Excel and Tableau are two different animals, and while it's helpful to be familiar with both, it is certainly not necessary to master one before the other.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                        Bill P

                        Thank you everyone.   I am going to subscribe to the "don't need to master Excel to use Tableau" school of thought

                         

                        Son is already asking "how do businesses make money with this" and his follow on question was, "can a kid like me make money with this"

                         

                        Any suggestions ?  

                        • 9. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                          Tom W

                          +1 to those who've said no to mastering Excel at his stage. I think it would be helpful to introduce him to Excel so he can understand the concept of laying out a table and understanding how that translates through to Tableau.

                           

                          Madhu, I fundamentally disagree that 'real world' Tableau use requires an understanding of either Tableau or Excel. They are helpful, but very far from required. I have business users connecting to published sources and creating reports and they will never need to query the underlying sources or understand how they are built. What's important for them is knowing how to consume the data in the tool and how to use it in the tool. Personally I will always aim to setup data environments which allow the users to self serve without needing to understand relationships or granular data. If they need to go to that level, I haven't done my job right in preparing the models for them.

                          • 10. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                            Jim Dehner

                            Bill

                            That is a good approach - if your son (and you ) have Access as part of your MS office package it would good to familiarize yourself with data base concepts also.  Excel is all cell bases calculations - add this cell to that cell and divide by this other cell - Tableau data base oriented - that a field and add it to another field and BTW do that for every record in the data base that has the fields - then just select the records you want to see with filters -

                             

                            Jim

                            • 11. Re: Learn Excel in order to learn Tableau ?
                              Chris McClellan

                              Bill P wrote:

                               

                              1.  My son (11 years old) is a student in Junior High School.   He loves computers.  Is it a "requirement" or expectation that he "master" Excel before "moving up" to Tableau ?   This applies for him, and for his dad (me).  The local community college offers "Excel for Novices", "Excel Intermediate" and "Excel Advanced".    

                               

                               

                              Not a requirement at all, MAYBE the Excel for Novices, but I wouldn't do anything more.  The intermediate or advanced class would get into charting, which is what Tableau is for

                               

                              Spend the time on learning databases, businesses use databases and then Excel will be a breeze.

                               

                              2.  Is Power BI a better program for a young data analyzer, or just go with Tableau ?    Obviously this audience here is biased....

                              Tableau, Alteryx (maybe Knime if you can't get a student version of Alteryx), and databases.  That would be my suggestions